Alright, yâ€™all. In case you didnâ€™t know, itâ€™s the most wonderful time of the yearâ€”in San Antonio, that is. Itâ€™s rodeo time!
As a San Antonio native, I grew up making a yearly pilgrimage to the rodeo, and itâ€™s one of my favorite things to do in this city. If youâ€™re new here or just havenâ€™t gone in previous years, itâ€™s time you fix that. Here are the best, the worst and the strangest things about this San Antonio staple that runs from now until March 1:
Best of the Rodeo:
I wonâ€™t go into TOO much detail about this because it would spoil the surprise for you rodeo virgins. Iâ€™ll just say this: sheep + children=cutest thing ever.
Thereâ€™s something special about gnawing on a massive pulled pork sandwich from a slightly sketchy BBQ stand while you explore the sights. Maybe the food is actually that good, or maybe itâ€™s just the atmosphere. Either way, you will Â pay for it, thoughâ€”at the rodeo, prices are usually high and the good stuff isnâ€™t always cheap.
Itâ€™s time to tap into your inner tacky Texan. Check out the plethora of stalls in the Freeman Coliseum for all the turquoise, silver and cowhide you could ever want Â And donâ€™t forget the leatherâ€”sueded, hand-tooled, stitched, fringed, you name it. If you havenâ€™t found a pair of cowboy boots yet, the selection at the rodeo is endless.
Worst of the Rodeo:
Youâ€™ll find your typical carnival rides at the rodeo, complete with sketchy rollercoasters. Some people like that. I, however, rode my first rollercoaster at this very rodeo, and I remain traumatized by the experience.
Not for vegetarians.
Youâ€™ll see a lot of cows, pigs and other livestock in the various barns. Iâ€™m sure you can guess where they end up. Itâ€™s just a fact of Texas agrarian life, but those of non-carnivorous sensibilities may want to steer clear.
Fun fact, though: the kids who raise these animals receive the profits, and the rodeo prides itself on providing grants and advancing studentsâ€™s education.
Quirks of the Rodeo:
The calf scramble.
During this rodeo event, a herd of calves is released into the arena, and local youths try to catch them. The pitched battle between cows and humans is hilariousâ€”these calves can hold their own.
Plus, each kid gets to keep his or her calf to raise for auction, which is pretty generous!
â€œSwifty Swine Sprints.â€
Pigs racing on a track. â€˜Nuff said. It may also involve pig diving. This event even includes an information session detailing everything you ever wanted to know about pigs.
Surprising live music acts.
Personally, I donâ€™t find this very strange, but most wouldnâ€™t ordinarily expect mariachi and flamenco music at a rodeo. We do, however, live in San Antonio, and Tex-Mex fusion extends to the rodeo in brilliant, beautiful ways.You might pass by one of these groups performing on the grounds if youâ€™re lucky!
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is famed as one of the best rodeos in the nation; no matter how country you are (or arenâ€™t), youâ€™ll have a helluva time. With plenty of food, rides and other attractions, the grounds alone are funâ€”but you wonâ€™t want to miss the thrill of the rodeo itself, from bulls and broncs to barrel racing.
Thursdays are college discount nights, so grab your boots and head out!